TheSonntag
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Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:08 am

The thread about who is the best US president of all time made me think of who was the best German politician of all time.

I have some candidates, like Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Schmidt, Friedrich Ebert and, with some exceptions due to his certainly not democratic attitude, Otto von Bismarck.

My vote goes to Helmut Schmidt. He was the chancellor from 1974 to 1982. To me, he is one of the most impressive persons we have had. He acted very bravely during the great flood in Hamburg 1962, where he asked for help from the army and NATO without having the competences to do so, thus risking his life. Later as the chancellor of Germany, he decided to end appeasement towards terrorism by allowing the GSG-9 to storm the highjacked LH aircraft Landshut.

Also, Helmut Schmidt was actively promoting the Nato double act which allowed the Pershing-2 rockets to be deployed to Germany, despite all opposition he met in his party. This could, of course, have gone terribly wrong, but history proofs that this was one of the crucial steps which lead to the collapse of the East.

Also, Helmut Schmidt actively sought good relationships to France, his relation to Giscard d'Estaing was very inspiring for the European integration.

What do you think? Who was the best German state leader of all time? I guess we all know who was the worst  Wink
 
NoUFO
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:27 am

Count me in: Helmut Schmidt.
I support the right to arm bears
 
Klaus
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:36 am

Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter):
He acted very bravely during the great flood in Hamburg 1962, where he asked for help from the army and NATO without having the competences to do so, thus risking his life.

I'm quite certain that his risk of getting shot for exceeding his responsibilities was actually rather small...!  mischievous 
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:45 am

I cannot edit it anymore... Of course I didn't mean risking his life, I meant risking his career  Wink
 
LH459
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:00 pm

Personally, I vote for Willy Brandt. I also have tremendous respect for Helmut Schmidt, though!
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
 
Jean Leloup
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:09 pm

This thread is just begging for Gkirk to show up and earn another suspension.  Wink

Interesting topic, though. I know nothing about European politics; it's interesting to see what you guys value in leaders.

JL
Next flight.... who knows.
 
Confuscius
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:22 pm

Adenoid Hynkel?

 Wink
Ain't I a stinker?
 
PSA727
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:35 pm

My vote goes to Bismarck.

He was very realistic. He knew the importance of a strong industrial
economy, but also knew that it was important to improve the lives
of the ordinary citizens, especially with primary education.

If only Kaiser Willy had not come into power and Bismarck had not
resigned because of that idiot's ineptness! Who knows how great
Germany could have been in the early 20th Century; there probably would
not have been the First World War (maybe).

I remember seeing a political cartoon from that era depicting a little
tugboat with Bismarck pulling this oversized ship with Kaiser Wilhelm.
I think that correctly summed up the relationship between the two.
fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:12 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter):
like Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Schmidt, Friedrich Ebert

while you forget the greatest one, Willy Brandt
 
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LTU932
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:15 pm

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 7):
If only Kaiser Willy had not come into power and Bismarck had not
resigned because of that idiot's ineptness! Who knows how great
Germany could have been in the early 20th Century; there probably would
not have been the First World War (maybe).

I agree with you. However, you have to remember that Emperor Wilhelm I was the one who actively worked together with Otto von Bismarck and together forged the new Germany, finally united after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire of German States, and Bismarck stepped down after Emperor Wilhelm II came to power, a few years after the death of Wilhelm I. So, not all Kaiser Willy's have rejected Bismarck's presence and advice.  Wink

So in my list, there have been many great German state leaders:

1. Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
2. King Wilhelm of Prussia, who became Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm I of Germany in 1871
3. Konrad Adenauer, for being the first postwar German chancellor of our current Republic. It was during his administration when we experienced what we call the "Wirtschaftswunder" or Economic Miracle, when despite the very hard postwar era, Germany's economy started to boom.
4. Chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt for their great influence on politics, keeping the country together despite the terrorist acts by the Red Army Faction (most prominently during the Schmidt administration, when he was one of the leading figures who organised the liberation of the hijacked "Landshut" airliner and its hostages)
5. Helmut Kohl for his major contributions to the reunification of West Germany with the communist East Germany. As controversial as Kohl might have become with the donations scandal after he left office, one must never forget that he was a major contributor to Germany during his government's heyday and especially with the reunification.

I personally, being from Hamburg, would love to see our city honour more former Chancellor Schmidt. In fact, I'd even love to see HAM being renamed to something like "Helmut Schmidt International", in grateful memory of his many years serving Hamburg and Germany.  Smile

- Richie
 
deltagator
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:23 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter):
I guess we all know who was the worst

To paraphrase Marge Schott (deceased former Cincinnati Reds owner) he did build some mighty fine roads which was a good thing. Of course he went downhill from there IMO.

Who was in charge during unification of East and West? Kohl? He might be a good choice.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
PSA727
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:26 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 9):
So, not all Kaiser Willy's have rejected Bismarck's presence and advice

Yes, I was referring to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the spoiled child  Smile .

I believe that one of the reasons Bismarck became so disgusted by
Wilhelm II was because he was so unlike his predecessor.
fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
 
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LTU932
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:34 pm

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 10):
Who was in charge during unification of East and West? Kohl? He might be a good choice.

Yes, it was Kohl. He and his East German counterpart, Lothar de Maizière, and the four former occupation powers (France, Britain, the US and the Soviet Union) paved the way for the reunification with what became known as the 2+4 Treaty.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:11 pm

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 8):
while you forget the greatest one, Willy Brandt

Brandt always had difficulties making decisions. Plus, he employed by far more jobless people to keep the number of unemployed low. So no, as important as his "Ostpolitik" was, he was not the best in my book.

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 11):
Yes, it was Kohl. He and his East German counterpart, Lothar de Maiziere, and the four former occupation powers (France, Britain, the US and the Soviet Union) paved the way for the reunification with what became known as the 2+4 Treaty.

Britain was more kind of a brake shoe; the U.S. was the only western ally Germans could count on. The French came later and Maggie Thatcher eventually gave up.
But don't forget Hungary! If they didn't open their border to Austria, God knows what would have happened. And the Polish Solidarnosc movement of course had some impact as well.
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TheSonntag
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:48 am

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 8):
while you forget the greatest one, Willy Brandt

His "Ostpolitik" was good, but his economical politics were disastrous, we still suffer from it.

Of course, I am biased because I am a CDU member (which does not prevent me of thinking so positive of Helmut Schmidt).

About Kohl, I think the reunification was his achievement. His offensive play made it possible, it is fair to say that with another government, we might not have gotten the reunification. He did the right step, despite all economical problems. Also, Helmut Kohl is a great European, but I would still rate him behind Konrad Adenauer.
 
Klaus
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:34 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 14):
About Kohl, I think the reunification was his achievement. His offensive play made it possible, it is fair to say that with another government, we might not have gotten the reunification.

Not that early, I agree. But by now it would have happened anyway. The reunification hinged not on Kohl, but on Gorbachev. It was almost exclusively the soviet side who held it up before (yeah, and Maggie Thatcher, of course! ).

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 14):
He did the right step, despite all economical problems.

...which he himself created to a large degree!  gnasher 
We're still suffering from the consequences, far more than from any "horrible" changes made under Brandt!
 
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LTU932
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:55 pm

I have to dig up that site I found once, which has a timeline from the building of the Berlin Wall up to the Reunification and even the first post-reunification elections. It's a pretty long and detailed timeline, from August 1963 to December 1990, but a very interesting read.
 
aloges
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:18 am

In my opinion, it's a tie between Brandt and Schmidt. Brandt kneeling down in Warsaw is the most powerful gesture I know of; Schmidt's strategy against the "RAF" proved to be exactly right.

Adenauer: did the right thing by putting up a somewhat autocratic government. This way, anti-democratic Germans were, if you may call it so, "fooled" into believing the democratic regime was in some sort of way also a dictatorship/monarchy. Had Adenauer "dared more democracy" in those early days, trouble could have been ahead.

Erhard: father of the "economic miracle", but being chancellor was not so much for him.

Kiesinger: don't know much about "Häuptling Silberzunge", just that he got slapped.

Brandt, Schmidt: see above

Kohl: I've lost all respect for him. His government was merely so-so, but his arrogance makes him unbearable. He thinks his personal promises to "donators" are more important than our constitution... to prison with him!

Schröder: my opinion of him is changing, and not for the better. The gas deal was weird, but being booked as a speaker for a hedge fund is a lapsus that definitely shouldn't happen to him of all people. Then, I never forgave him for saying all teachers were "lazy bastards".
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
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yowza
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RE: Best German State Leader Of All Time

Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:34 am

I think the current chancellor has the potential to be the best of all time. Then again that's a long way from being realized.

YOWza

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